Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Combative cannabis group kicks off its own safe-driving campaign

Posted by on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 11:08 AM

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At this point, the actions of Colorado's medical marijuana community are almost a parody. If it's not MMJ advocates arguing with each other at the Capitol, then it's pro-legalization types banging out separate campaigns, and criticizing the other.

Boulder's Cannabis Therapy Institute — or rather, related to them: the Legalize 2012 campaign — was the main opponent in the latter example, and are again, this time opposing an anti-drugged-driving campaign created by the Colorado Department of Transportation. (See original story here.)

CTI's main complaint is the wording of the campaign, saying it's "simplistic" and insulting to patients who drive, mentioning, specifically, a fellow advocacy group.

"The Medical Marijuana Industry Group ... is supporting the CDOT campaign, which says 'If you medicate, don't drive,'" reads a press release. "We believe the CDOT/MMIG campaign is too simplistic and provides no real education. Many feel that CDOT/MMIG campaign is belittling to patients who have driven safely while using cannabis for years."

(An interesting side note: Other industry folks we've chatted with feel that pushing an "I drive safe while high" campaign, even if true for that individual, is not only a nonstarter, but political death.)

Anyway, for this issue, we've reached out to MMIG executive director Mike Elliott for his thoughts. We haven't heard back but, but we've also previously chatted with him on the topic. Here's a comment he made to the Indy in a Sept. 5 phone conversation:

"We support [CDOT's] message, and encourage patients and business owners to not use marijuana and drive," Elliot said, from Denver. "It is very important to increase the legitimacy of the industry to show that we are responsible business owners and patients, and that we are ultimately concerned with health."

So, even with one campaign already well underway, CTI is launching its own effort, which the group sums up this way, according to the release: "'Use cannabis responsibly. If you medicate, then wait.' The length of time a patient will have to wait after they medicate depends on many factors. But once a patient gets used to the effects of THC, they are likely to be able to drive safely."

If you're interested in helping out, e-mail info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com.

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